Whether your cat is matted up or it’s hot out, and you want to relieve it of the heat from its coat, shaving your cat may seem like a good idea. Generally, vets don’t recommend shaving cats for several reasons, though there are exceptions 1.
Here’s everything you need to know about shaving your cat.
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Shaving Your Cat: The Pros
There are not a lot of situations that warrant shaving your cat, but it can be valuable in certain circumstances. For example, if your cat has serious wounds or a skin condition that leads to irritation and hygiene issues, shaving your cat gives you access to the affected area to keep it clean and treated. In this case, it’s best to only shave the area surrounding the wound, if possible.
Another situation when shaving may be necessary is if your cat is severely matted. While you can remove mats with baths, brushing, combing, and detangling spray, that may not be an option with skittish cats or cats that have been seriously neglected. Shaving may be the only option to get a fresh start.
If you have an older cat or a cat with mobility issues that can’t groom itself properly, shaving may be necessary if you can’t keep up with its grooming needs on your own. This should be avoided as much as possible, however.
Some longer haired cats struggle to keep their back end clean and feces and urine may get stuck in the fur. This is more common in overweight cats, however your vet or groomer may recommend trimming some of the fur in this area to help keep it clean and hygienic.
- Related Read: Funny Cat Haircuts
Shaving Your Cat: Cons
If you don’t have a medical need to shave your cat, it’s not a good idea. Pet hair isn’t like human hair—it’s designed to help your pet regulate its temperature naturally. This is especially true of cats, which evolved in desert environments and tolerated heat better than most people and dogs.
Shaving your cat’s coat doesn’t help it cool off any easier. In fact, you can damage your cat’s natural coat and affect its ability to cool itself properly with repeated shaving.
In addition, your cat’s coat protects it from sun, irritation, injury, and more. Sunburn can be a significant issue for cats without fur, leaving your cat at increased risk of skin cancer.
Does It Matter if My Cat Is Indoor or Outdoor?
Neither indoor or outdoor cats need shaving. Cats are capable of cooling themselves as needed, especially if they’re living inside your climate-controlled home. They’re also generally cleaner than outdoor cats.
As far as outdoor cats, they will deal with more temperature extremes, but that’s all the more reason they need their natural coats for temperature regulation. Shaving your outdoor cat not only harms its ability to stay warm or cool itself appropriately, but it leaves the skin vulnerable to insect bites, cuts and scratches, and sunburn.
- Related Read: Consider a Low-Shedding Breed, instead of shaving your beloved pet!
Cats rarely need to be shaved, at least not completely. Most skin conditions and injuries can be managed by shaving only around the affected areas, and it’s not a substitute for routine grooming. If you think your cat would benefit from being shaved, be sure to speak to your vet before making the decision. After all, your cat’s coat is doing what it needs to do.
Featured Image Credit: Santi Nanta, Shutterstock